Hot Mobile gains most subscribers for third straight year

Hot Mobile

Hot Mobile was the leader in subscriber recruitment in 2017 with 52,000 net subscribers signing up.

HOT Mobile Ltd. was the big winner in subscriber churn in 2017, gaining 52,000 net subscribers (new subscribers minus subscribers who canceled their subscriptions). Pelephone Communications Ltd. was in second place with a net gain of 13,000 subscribers, while Cellcom Israel Ltd. (NYSE:CEL; TASE:CEL) lost 30,000 subscribers and Partner Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; TASE: PTNR) 45,000.

Golan Telecom Ltd., which led in recruitment of new subscribers when intense competition began in 2011, is finishing the year with a net loss of 44,000 subscribers. It was a difficult year for Golan Telecom, which has only now emerged from the crisis, after having been threatened with liquidation last year and in the first quarter of this year, before it was acquired by Electra Consumer Products Ltd. (TASE:ECP). As a sign of the change, the company posted a net gain in subscribers in the past month.

The trend reflects the companies' marketing aggression during the year, because the mobile telephony market is oriented towards bargains, and quite a few customers in the market simply move from one company to another according to the bargain they get; this trend, however, ebbed somewhat over the past year, because the differences in price are very small, and customers are in no hurry to switch companies merely in order to save NIS 10.

Hot Mobile was the leader in subscriber recruitment for the third straight year, and the company has already passed the 1.5 million subscribers level. This means that it is no longer a small player in the market; it has become a dominant player. Hot Mobile this year highlighted its unlimited package for NIS 49 a month, which was its package that was most attractive to customers. The company's network cooperation with Partner made its network quality the equal of any of the others, and customers realize this.

Among the virtual operators, Rami Levy finished the year with a slight advantage over 019 Mobile: 29,000 subscribers for Levy, compared with 26,000 for 019. Rami Levy owed its lead to its aggressive campaign in the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sector, in which it sold a package of calls and messages without Internet for NIS 7 a month.

Pelephone is stepping up the pace of its subscriber recruitment, as part of its market share strategy aimed at increasing the company's market share in anticipation of diminishing competition in the mobile telephony market, so that the subscribers it accumulates will remain with it, even when the price rises. Pelephone reported 60,000 new subscribers in the last quarter - an extraordinary figure for mobile subscriber recruitment in a single quarter.

Partner is apparently abandoning competition for market share, although it is still selling at very low and attractive prices through 012 Mobile. This means that 012 Mobile is probably no longer making a difference for Partner in subscriber recruitment, as the numbers show.

Cellcom added the subscribers from Home Cellular to its positive churn during the year, so the figures in the table show a gain in subscribers, but if these subscribers are excluded, as they should be, the company's churn was negative.

Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on December 28, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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